Natalia Estemirova Killing The Latest In Attacks On Russian Activists

Award-winning Russian rights activist Natalya Estemirova has been found dead hours after being kidnapped in Chechnya, reports Human Rights Watch.

Estemirova's body was found on a roadside near the Chechan border with two bullet wounds to her head, according to the local Interior Ministry spokeswoman.

A report was released on the same day as Estemirova's killing, which calls for Russian officials, including Prime Minister Putin, to be held accountable for crimes while they have been in office.

Estemirova's death is the latest in an increasing list of reporters, lawyers and activits who have been killed in Russia, according to Amnesty International.

In a report released in May of this year, Amnesty accuses President Medvedev of failing to live up to the human rights promises he made before being elected.

Amnesty says: "People continue to be 'forcibly disappeared' or abducted, arbitrarily detained, tortured or even killed while in detention. "

Estemirova had worked with investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in her Moscow apartment building in 2006, and her lawyer Stanislav Markelov. Markelov was killed in Moscow in January, along with opposition newspaper reporter Anastasia Baburova.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that in 2008, two journalists were killed in Russia. Magomed Yevloyev was shot and killed while in police custody, and Telman Alishayev was shot while driving home from a local mosque.

The organization has recently called for an investigation into the death of newspaper editor Vyacheslav Yaroshenko who died from a head wound.

In its annual report on Russia, Reporters Without Borders noted that "much pressure" was exerted upon independent media and journalists, including police arrests and beatings.

Here is a round-up of the most recent high-profile killings:

Vyacheslav Yaroshenko, 63 The editor of Korruptsiya i Prestupnost (Corruption and Crime) died on June 29, 2009 as a result of severe head injuries sustained in an attack from a mystery assailant in late April. Yaroshenko was unconscious found at the entrance to his apartment building, but local police said they did not consider any criminal element involved in his injuries and have not investigated the April incident.

Magomed Yevloyev, 37 Kremlin critic and journalist Yevloyev was shot dead while in police custody on August 31, 2008. Yevloyev founded and ran, a website which provided local news and information. The website was a strong opponent of Murat Zyazikov, Ingushetia's pro-Kremlin president. He was arrested shortly after arriving in Ingushetia from Moscow. Police reported that after he was arrested, the journalist attempted to wrestle a gun from a policeman when the gun went off, striking Yevloyev in the temple.

Telman Alishayev Alishayev, host of popular religious program 'Peace to Your Home', was shot by two masked assassins while sitting in traffic on his way home from the local mosque on September 2, 2008. Alishayev was a reporter for the Islamic had more recently lobbied for education reform and gender separation in schools. No one has been convicted for his death.

Anna Politkovskaya, 48 Investigative journalist and rights activist Politkovskaya was shot and killed in her apartment building in Moscow on October 7, 2006. Politkovskays was perhaps best known for her opposition to the Chechen conflict and criticism of Vladimir Putin. A judge recently overturned the acquittal of three men charged with her death, one former police officer and two Chechens, who now face a retrial. She had written a number of award-winning books about Chechnya and Putin's leadership, and had written articles exposing rights abuses by the Russian army in Chechnya.

Stanislav Markelov, 35 Markelov, the human rights lawyer who represented Anna Politkovskaya, was shot dead in Moscow on January 19, 2009. Markelov was one of the presidents of the Russian Rule of Law Institute and had represented Chechens who were allegedly beaten and abused by Russian forces.

Anastasia Barburova, 25 Young investigative journalist Barburova was shot and killed when she tried to apprehend the assissin who shot human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov as they walked in Moscow. Barburova, a journalism student at Moscow State University, investigated the neo-Nazi movement in Russia. The assassin has not been found.

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